Before You Buy Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTGX), Consider Its Volatility

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If you’re interested in Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTGX), then you might want to consider its beta (a measure of share price volatility) in order to understand how the stock could impact your portfolio. Volatility is considered to be a measure of risk in modern finance theory. Investors may think of volatility as falling into two main categories. The first type is company specific volatility. Investors use diversification across uncorrelated stocks to reduce this kind of price volatility across the portfolio. The other type, which cannot be diversified away, is the volatility of the entire market. Every stock in the market is exposed to this volatility, which is linked to the fact that stocks prices are correlated in an efficient market.

Some stocks see their prices move in concert with the market. Others tend towards stronger, gentler or unrelated price movements. Beta is a widely used metric to measure a stock’s exposure to market risk (volatility). Before we go on, it’s worth noting that Warren Buffett pointed out in his 2014 letter to shareholders that ‘volatility is far from synonymous with risk.’ Having said that, beta can still be rather useful. The first thing to understand about beta is that the beta of the overall market is one. A stock with a beta below one is either less volatile than the market, or more volatile but not corellated with the overall market. In comparison a stock with a beta of over one tends to be move in a similar direction to the market in the long term, but with greater changes in price.

See our latest analysis for Protagonist Therapeutics

What we can learn from PTGX’s beta value

Given that it has a beta of 1.76, we can surmise that the Protagonist Therapeutics share price has been fairly sensitive to market volatility (over the last 5 years). If this beta value holds true in the future, Protagonist Therapeutics shares are likely to rise more than the market when the market is going up, but fall faster when the market is going down. Many would argue that beta is useful in position sizing, but fundamental metrics such as revenue and earnings are more important overall. You can see Protagonist Therapeutics’s revenue and earnings in the image below.

NasdaqGM:PTGX Income Statement, June 13th 2019
NasdaqGM:PTGX Income Statement, June 13th 2019

Could PTGX’s size cause it to be more volatile?

Protagonist Therapeutics is a rather small company. It has a market capitalisation of US$281m, which means it is probably under the radar of most investors. It takes less money to influence the share price of a very small company. This may explain the excess volatility implied by this beta value.

What this means for you:

Since Protagonist Therapeutics tends to moves up when the market is going up, and down when it’s going down, potential investors may wish to reflect on the overall market, when considering the stock. In order to fully understand whether PTGX is a good investment for you, we also need to consider important company-specific fundamentals such as Protagonist Therapeutics’s financial health and performance track record. I urge you to continue your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for PTGX’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PTGX’s outlook.
  2. Financial Health: Are PTGX’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.